chapter  1
14 Pages

Conciliation and Conflict, Performance and Commemoration in Colonial Australia and the Pacific Rim

WithKate Darian-Smith, Penelope Edmonds

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the cultural, political and performative histories of conciliation and conflict between European colonisers and indigenous peoples in Australia and the Pacific Rim, with a particular focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores the importance of performance and ritual in cross-cultural negotiation, the cultural and political meanings of objects and the national commemorations and re-enactments of the colonial past. The book also shows that the creative arts were central to the European expeditions dispatched to the Pacific to document its natural environments and the social customs of its indigenous peoples. It examines how Maori public performances have challenged the authority of Pakeha accounts of history. The book further focuses on the poetic and ethical dimensions of the imagination and the potential of art as a cultural agent for reconciliation and social change in the aftermath of colonialism.